heavy-metal tolerance

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A biochemical and physiological adaptation to heavy metals (i.e. metals, e.g. copper and zinc, that have a density greater than 5g/cm3) shown by plant species or genotypes: such plants may therefore be found growing successfully on soils contaminated by metals, where other species or genotypes would fail. Many common grasses (e.g. Agrostis tenuis and Festuca ovina) have developed strains tolerant of heavy metals naturally on soils derived from geological strata rich in heavy metals. Seeds from these genotypes are used commercially in revegetating spoil contaminated by metals.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry — Ecology and Conservation.

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